What Is the First Step in Developing a New Information System?

Before we discover which is the first step in developing a new information system, we need to take the time to understand what an information system is. Information systems are essential to modern business, government, education, health care, and more. If you use a smartphone or a computer, you’re likely interacting with and benefiting from an information system.

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HiTech technology evolves quickly. Sometimes in order to stay competitive, your business needs to update to a new information system design to access new tools and software. Let’s learn more about information systems, the steps in the development process, and why the first step in developing a new information system is so crucial.

What Is an Information System?

The simplest definition of an information system is a collection of software, hardware, and telecommunication networks that are built to create, collect, and distribute information within an organization. These systems are designed to support decision-making, visualization, coordination, and analysis. Information systems are comprised of three major components:

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Data

All of these components are crucial to the overall function and success of the information system. Updates to any one of these components could necessitate the design and implementation of a new information system.

Hardware

This is the physical part of the information system. Hardware includes things like your computer, smartphone, keyboards, monitors, etc. Any part of the information system that you can physically touch is hardware. The hardware part of your system is crucial for the dissemination of information.

Software

There are two important types of software within the information system, the operating system, and application software. The operating system acts as the interface between the hardware and the application software. The application software provides the User Interface that allows users to perform important tasks such as document creation, data recording, communications, and more.

Software is constantly evolving to meet user requirements, and new software could necessitate the implementation of new hardware too. When it comes to system design, it is important to remember that software and hardware are very closely related.

Data

Organizations rely on data to make decisions. The data component of an information system refers to how the data is stored and accessed by users. Many businesses choose to use a data warehouse or a data lake for the storage component of their information system. Innovations like cloud computing have brought advancements to the traditional structures of information systems. Many organizations have developed new systems to take advantage of the benefits the cloud offers.

Developing a New Information System

There are a number of different reasons you might want to develop a new system. In some cases, you might only want to make partial changes to your current information system, but in many cases, organizations choose to completely replace their information system. Whether you’re only going to make partial changes or complete changes to your system, the development steps are the same.

The development steps for an information system are as follows:

  • System Analysis
  • Determine your needs
  • System design
  • System implementation
  • Testing
  • Maintenance

The most common reason why organizations choose to develop a new information system is that their current system can no longer meet the demands or needs of their users. New software and technology advancements also play a role too. If you want to take advantage of the latest technology, you might need to make partial or complete changes to your information system in order to ensure compatibility.

Why the First Step in Information System Development is so Important

The first step in the information system development process is system analysis. While every step of the development process is important, the first step sets the tone and ensures that your organization is moving forward in the right direction. The first step of the process can be broken down into three sub-steps. These system analysis sub-steps are:

  • Identification
  • Selection
  • Planning

Let’s take a closer look at these sub-steps and explain their importance in the information system development process.

Identification

This is the very beginning of the development process. Here, your team will be looking at the problems and challenges facing your organization. They will also be examining your current information system and how adept it is at handling your needs.

For example, if you rely on IoT devices, you need an information system that can process, store, and analyze large amounts of data. In this part of the development process, your teams need to be looking for opportunities to address the challenges facing your organization.

Failure to properly identify the challenges your organization faces will make it nearly impossible for you to find the right information system solutions.

Selection

After you clearly define your needs, challenges, and potential system solutions, you need to make a final decision. You should not rush the selection process because once you have a new system, you will hopefully be using it for years to come.

Evaluate how each potential solution handles the needs of your business and the challenges you face. Take the time to think about how this information system solution will aid you in reaching your targets.

Do you need a whole or a partial information system solution? Does your solution require a custom app? You should have a clear idea about exactly how your business will benefit from a specific system design and how it will integrate with your current system.

Your team should have a list of features most important to your organization so that you can evaluate and compare options so that your organization is choosing the best solution for your needs.

Planning

Once your needs have been identified and a solution selected, you need to create an implementation plan for your information system. Arguably, this planning phase is simpler if you’re completely replacing your current system.

If you’re updating parts of your information system, you will need a more detailed integration plan. You should know which aspects of your system will be implemented first, who will be trained on the updates, etc.

The most successful projects are well planned. Take the time to put together a comprehensive implementation plan so that the process is as frictionless as possible.

Final Thoughts

Developing a new information system can be a challenging task. The first step in this development process is system analysis. The more thorough and detailed you are in this initial step, the more likely it is that your project will be successful.

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